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How to collect high-quality customer feedback and turn it into actionable insights
Feedback is a powerful way to connect with your customers, get objective opinions, and make optimizations that have a real impact.
But proactively requesting user insights can be challenging, and responses are often vague or irrelevant. Navigating these pain points is crucial for making the most of your customers’ feedback.
Last updated16 Jun 2023
Reading time13 min
Hearing from your users is critical to building a product, app, or website they love. These priceless insights come in all shapes and sizes—think chatty comments, star ratings, emoji-filled reviews, and open dialogue.
This article breaks down the steps and tools you need to gather high-quality customer feedback that helps you make informed decisions and enhance your products and services.
Use these tips to gain deeper insights into user behavior so you can make your website more people-centric, provide an unrivaled customer experience, and grow the metrics that matter to your business.
3 ways to level up your customer feedback and boost your business
Customer feedback is your secret weapon to forge a bond with your audience and build a thriving business. It shows you where you're nailing it and what makes your customers cringe, helping you make smart moves and focus on upgrades that make a difference.
Hotjar’s customer feedback tools help you approach every interaction as an opportunity to collect quantitative and qualitative data on real experiences with your business. Here’s how to use them to get valuable insights that drive customer-centric growth.
1. Set up Hotjar Feedback to collect user insights in the moment
A proactive approach to collecting high-quality customer insights involves prompting people when the chances of getting feedback are highest—while they’re actively engaging with your product, app, or website.
That’s where the Hotjar Feedback tool comes in: an embeddable on-site widget that lets you collect instant, visual feedback from your users and allows them to voice their concerns openly.
This isn’t a full-fledged survey. It’s a single question allowing customers to rate their experience from Hate to Love, type in their suggestions, and take a screenshot of specific elements to bring frequently encountered problems to your attention.
The Hotjar Feedback tool removes the guesswork from improving your user experience by letting your users tell you directly which elements they love and which need improvement. This shows you exactly how your existing and new customers feel, helping you empathize with their experience and improve your product or website on their terms.
With a well-placed widget, you can effortlessly hear your users’ opinions and use them to improve experiences across the board:
Hotjar Feedback helps you uncover challenges customers face and actionable insights that make their experiences better. Here’s how to maximize your chances of hearing from a customer through a feedback widget:
Install the Feedback widget
Pave the way for an avalanche of user insights by activating the Feedback widget.
How to do it: go to your Hotjar dashboard, hunt down the 'Feedback' tab on the left, click on 'New widget' in the top right, and you're in business. You will be asked to name the widget and give it a description. You can also select which type of widget you'd like: a button or an embedded widget.
When placed at the bottom right or left of the screen, the Hotjar Feedback widget contains a customizable short welcome text
Customize your Feedback widget
How to do it: make your Feedback widget as inviting as possible by letting your creativity shine during the setup process. Select a language and color scheme, remove the Hotjar branding, and change the reaction style to align it with your brand's style and blend right in.
You can choose to hide the branding, customize color, and change the reaction style of the emojis
Decide on the type of customer feedback you want to collect
Feedback lets you collect both qualitative and quantitative data that'll give you key insights on user preferences.
How to do it: when setting your question type, pick 'Rating scale' for snappy, easy-to-measure responses or 'Open text field' for juicy, detailed feedback. And don't forget to switch on 'Screenshot capture' for visual context.
Analyze user responses
Every piece of user feedback is a message in a bottle, waiting to be opened and deciphered. Time to put on your detective hat and make sense of what customers are sharing with you.
How to do it: for a quick overview of your scores, check out the ‘Results’ tab in the 'Feedback' section of your dashboard. Want to zoom in on certain page URLs or filter by, for example, country? Use the options above the graph to discover key patterns. The ‘Responses’ tab enables you to check out individual feedback responses. You can even forward feedback responses to Slack or Microsoft Teams for easy access.
Combine Feedback with other Hotjar tools and features
Use Feedback on its own or with other Hotjar tools and features.
How to do it: combine insights to get the most from each response and pinpoint the issue without wasting time on assumptions.
Heatmaps: filter any heatmap by feedback rating. Generate a heatmap of users who selected ‘Hate’ or ‘Dislike’ and compare it to a heatmap of visitors who gave you a ‘Love’ or ‘Like’ rating. Are there differences in clicking and scrolling behavior? Are unhappy visitors missing important information?
Recordings: segment your recordings by key actions, like users filling out a feedback form. Activate the ‘Connect responses with Recordings’ option during setup to see the actual user experiences that lead to the scores you’re getting.
Dashboard: monitor user sentiment directly. See how feedback changes over time by looking at the average score, the number of responses, and the percentage distribution of how users respond. It's a great way to know how users feel, especially if you’ve recently made a significant update, like introducing a new user interface (UI).
We test new designs with real users using Hotjar to get reliable, unbiased feedback. It would be very hard to get the fidelity of feedback at the volume we need without Hotjar.
2. Set up Hotjar Surveys to collect more detailed feedback
Customers can transform every aspect of your company for the better—but only if you listen to their feedback. To do that, you need to ask your audience the right questions at the right time. How? By creating, distributing, and analyzing surveys with Hotjar Surveys.
The Hotjar Surveys tool enables you to capture direct customer feedback using a variety of questions and customization options. These questionnaires can be set to appear on your website as a popover, button, or overlay (or on a separate page hosted by Hotjar).
This easy-to-use system transforms customer feedback management into a simple, repeatable process, allowing you to focus on the most important aspect: acting on the insights you collect.
Creating a new survey in Hotjar couldn't be easier
Hotjar Surveys is an effective tool that lets you get to know your customers, their needs, and their challenges by asking them directly. Here’s how to apply these insights to your customer feedback strategy:
Surveys yield meaningful customer feedback because you can use them for laser-precision targeting. Here’s how to get the most out of Hotjar Surveys and use those insights to create a high-converting website and build better products.
Use templates to build surveys in minutes
If you have a specific type of feedback you want to gather, we’ve got you. Check our library of survey templates, with more than 40 ready for use, and start collecting valuable customer insights right now.
How to do it: create your survey in the 'Surveys' section of your Hotjar dashboard by clicking on ‘New survey’. Choose one of our templates, or click ‘Start from scratch’. You’ll be asked to provide a name and description (but don’t worry; users won’t see those).
Collect both quantitative and qualitative insights
Use Surveys to collect quantitative data and qualitative data and create a rich portrait of what your customers want and need:
Closed-ended questions give you quantitative data (i.e. numerical data) that you can analyze with charts and comparison tables. This helps you look for trends, check if your findings are statistically relevant, and measure and compare your users' thoughts or feelings about a specific issue.
Open-ended questions give you qualitative data (i.e. descriptive, word-based data), so you can dig deeper and discover why users think, feel, or behave a certain way. Respondents can answer in any way they choose, in their own words.
Together, these types of questions let customers speak their minds and share their thoughts freely, helping you understand their experiences and expectations.
How to do it: use quantitative data to spot initial trends, then use qualitative data to look for more in-depth explanations.
Say you’ve used a closed-ended question to identify that 80% of trial users found the product useful. If you also asked an open-ended question, like, “What’s stopping you from signing up for our paid plan?” sifting through the answers could reveal that trial users also objected to the pricing.
Customize your surveys
Hotjar's drag-and-drop builder makes it easy to set up surveys. Use pre-built templates for inspiration and customize the design to match your brand.
How to do it: use the survey builder to add questions—these can be your own, or you can cherry-pick a few tried-and-tested options from our Hotjar Question Bank. In the following step, customize the language, color, and positioning on your page.
Learn more about your prospects and customers with over 70 different questions
Leverage surveys for specific insights
Surveys in Hotjar are versatile and can be used both proactively and reactively: you could set up exit-intent surveys to understand why users leave without making a purchase, or deploy customer feedback surveys on specific pages to collect insights on new features or designs.
How to do it: when creating a new survey, select 'Page Targeting' to choose where your survey appears. You can also choose 'Exit Intent' to trigger a survey when a user is about to leave your page.
Analyze survey responses
Hotjar makes survey response analysis incredibly straightforward: easily spot patterns and trends to make informed decisions based on user feedback.
How to do it: go to the 'Responses', ‘Results’, and ‘Performance’ tabs of your specific survey in the 'Surveys' section. Here you can view and analyze all responses, check that your findings are statistically significant, and use qualitative data to support and explain your quantitative findings.
Boost your workflow with integrations
Hotjar Surveys plays well with other tools, including Slack and Google Analytics. Share feedback in-house thanks to numerous integrations with popular apps.
How to do it: check our Hotjar documentation on integrations to read how-to guides for each external tool.
Combine Surveys with other Hotjar tools and features
Surveys become even more powerful when combined with other Hotjar tools and features.
How to do it: pair tools up for a comprehensive understanding of user behavior.
Funnels: trigger surveys based on specific events or actions during key steps of the conversion funnel. For example, analyze your funnels to identify which pages get the biggest drop-offs. Then, add a survey to those pages to understand any issues, confusion, or unanswered questions that might stop users from converting.
Observe tools: target and filter customer feedback by user attribute. This allows you to target surveys to users who fit specific demographics or take certain actions (e.g. iPhone visitors in the US who have dropped off at checkout). After running a survey, use the same user segments to generate heatmaps or filter recordings, letting you cross-reference behavior with survey responses.
3. Use Hotjar Engage to connect with customers 1:1 and gather even deeper insights
User interviews are one of the most valuable customer feedback methods for understanding your audience better. But how can you, the interviewer, ensure you get the insights and feedback you need to keep improving?
With Hotjar Engage as part of your customer feedback strategy, you’ll be leading interviews and collecting detailed insights like a pro in no time.
Engage is a user interview tool that enables you to recruit users, schedule user research sessions, and run sessions virtually. Each user interview can also be recorded and transcribed in the Hotjar platform.
Invite your own users, or access Hotjar's pool of more than 175,000 testers—so you’ll always find the right people to test your product.
Reaching out to customers directly opens up conversations that otherwise wouldn’t happen. Customers have the opportunity to share personal experiences—ones that help your team understand the feelings behind decisions, and get valuable face-to-face feedback, which you can use to:
Engage's main goal is to help you understand your users better. The more you interact with them, the more insight you gain. And with that knowledge, you can optimize your product, service, and overall customer experience.
Here’s how to master interviews with Hotjar Engage:
Schedule and conduct interviews
Schedule face-to-face chats with your users, then run, record, and share them with your team.
Engage syncs with your calendar, so there's no back-and-forth when finding a suitable time. No need for third-party video tools, either, because everything happens inside the platform (though you can use an external tool like Zoom if you prefer). Plus, built-in user compensation keeps no-shows to a minimum.
How to do it: go to the 'Engage' tab, click on 'Schedule Interview', and select your preferred date and time. Invite participants directly or choose from Hotjar's pool.
Discover opportunities and uncover issues
Engage helps you uncover hidden opportunities and pinpoint issues with your product. Involve your team in the user testing process by sharing your time-stamped notes, and turn the insights into a product development plan.
How to do it: invite your team members as observers when scheduling your call. They can join the call silently and jot down important points. During your interviews, ask open-ended questions, like, "What challenges did you encounter with our product?" or "How can we improve our service?" to guide your product development and decision-making processes.
Record calls and have them transcribed
With Engage, you don't have to worry about missing key details—it records and even transcribes your calls for you, automatically.
Highlight key moments with instant markers, add notes as you go, and easily create clips to share with your team and point them to key insights and meaningful customer feedback.
How to do it: enable the 'Record and Transcribe' feature when setting up your interview.
Click and drag with your mouse pointer on any area of the video progress bar to create your first clip
Turn insights into action
The insights you gain from Engage aren't just for show—they're meant to be acted on. After your team has observed calls and shared time-stamped notes, it's time to make sense of all that valuable data.
How to do it: use the transcriptions and your team's notes to identify patterns and recurring themes. Is there a feature users consistently struggle with? Or perhaps a service they wish you offered? These insights can direct your future actions and improvements.
You can share Hotjar Engage recordings on a password-protected URL
Use Engage in conjunction with other Hotjar tools
Complement your interviews with other Hotjar tools and gather even more useful insights.
How to do it:
Recordings: see what your user sees and build hypotheses to test in your interviews. Generating that feedback loop with your users allows you to get deeper into your customer’s experience, so you're consistently delivering the best possible solution—and a delightful one, at that.
Surveys: close the loop with customers to understand the context and reasons behind their NPS score. Using one-on-one interviews as follow-up sessions helps you zoom in on specific issues, understand what can and should be improved, and focus your efforts in a truly customer-centric direction.
Pro tip: use screening questions to only interview customers who match your specific needs.
Custom screener questions are a powerful tool to further target your desired audience and make sure you get feedback that helps you make the right decisions in developing your product, app, or website.
After typing in your question, choose a text field for the answer (for an open question) or provide multiple answers from which your participants can select one or more.
You'll see the responses of all invited users who successfully submitted their answers and were asked to book a session directly.
Next steps to collecting valuable customer feedback
Give your customers a voice and get to the heart of your customer experience by collecting actionable insights straight from the source.
If you’re ready to start collecting your own user insights, keep it simple and try out Hotjar’s customer feedback tools. They’re not just a way to gather thoughts and ideas—they're a window into your users' minds, helping you understand their needs, frustrations, and desires. The more you know, the better you can serve them.
FAQs about collecting customer feedback
5 tips to recruit user research participants that represent the real world
Whether you’re running focus groups for your pricing strategy or conducting usability testing for a new product, user interviews are one of the most effective research methods to get the needle-moving insights you need. But to discover meaningful data that helps you reach your goals, you need to connect with high-quality participants. This article shares five tips to help you optimize your recruiting efforts and find the right people for any type of research study.
How to instantly transcribe user interviews—and swiftly unlock actionable insights
After the thrill of a successful user interview, the chore of transcribing dialogue can feel like the ultimate anticlimax. Putting spoken words in writing takes several precious hours—time better invested in sharing your findings with your team or boss.
But the fact remains: you need a clear and accurate user interview transcript to analyze and report data effectively. Enter automatic transcription. This process instantly transcribes recorded dialogue in real time without human help. It ensures data integrity (and preserves your sanity), enabling you to unlock valuable insights in your research.
An 8-step guide to conducting empathetic (and insightful) customer interviews
Customer interviews uncover your ideal users’ challenges and needs in their own words, providing in-depth customer experience insights that inform product development, new features, and decision-making. But to get the most out of your interviews, you need to approach them with empathy. This article explains how to conduct accessible, inclusive, and—above all—insightful interviews to create a smooth (and enjoyable!) process for you and your participants.